The “mad at me” game and a new vegan recipe

Happy Friday, y’all.

The first full week back to work is never easy after extended time off. A brief interlude to the coast to start this week left me feeling like I never was quite able to find my routine, which I allowed myself to accept. The absence of usual evening meetings and social gatherings was a nice respite, and at the same time, I have missed connecting in person to the folks who comprise my awesome community.


Do you suffer from the self-induced guilt game that I will refer to as “MAM” short for “mad at me”? I do. Suffer might be too strong of a descriptor because it is completely self-induced.

Case study: As I was packing up my belongings today, I recalled that I had not heard back from someone I had reached out to in the morning, asking if they would be able to get together next week. Almost immediately I heard my inner voice say: “Oh no! What if this person is mad at me? Is there something I did or didn’t do?” I could feel my brain going into processing overdrive, attempting to identify where I went wrong.


WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. While I would rather blame this reaction on being a Millennial or an only child or a product of a instantaneous gratification culture, it resides much deeper than that. This is simply one example of this self-doubt that I often struggle with in my personal and professional relationships. I’m sure Aaron can count numerous times where I have asked him point blank: “Are you mad at me?”

There have been times where my gut feeling – whether with friends or colleagues – has been correct. Outside of a few individuals in my life blowing up at me (the not-so-subtle answer to my inner question), most folks don’t want or can’t own up when their upset at someone else. I consider myself among the camp, in some respect.

As part of my ongoing development as a human being, I am working to quiet the reactive voice of blame and do an environmental scan (you better believe I just dropped it) on whether there is merit to such a feeling. Nine times out of 10, there won’t be. And, what I need to do is to learn to dismiss those unfounded fears quickly rather than allow them to consume precious energy I could be applying towards – you know – changing the world and stuff.

On the flip side, this type of behavioral change also demands that I do my part in being open, honest, and transparent when I have felt wronged in a situation. I know that I’m not alone in this MAM affliction. So, I need to “own it” when there are feelings of discontent and work to address the situation. Festering is both a disgusting-sounding word and a detriment to relationships and productivity.


Shifting gears:


Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I picked up Food52‘s vegan cookbook while perusing at Parker & Otis. I had seen recipes from Food52 before, but I did not know that it had an entire section of vegan recipes at the ready.

This is one of the most visually beautiful cookbooks I have encountered. This week I broke into my first recipe, one that was more familiar but had a few new twists: lentil sloppy joes. I finished the rest of the dish for my lunch today, and it was just as delicious five days after first cooking it. The first night we used torta rolls we picked up at Costco to hold the messy goodness. Another night, I toasted some Ezekial bread and used some vegan cream cheese –mmmmm! Creamy goodness. I will say – I do prefer the PPK “Snobby Joe” recipe that I blogged about previously. Still, this is a nice variation on a comfort dish the whole family, vegan or not, will love.

Vegan Lentil Sloppy Joes
(via Food 52’s blog)

Author Notes: Easy, filling, and inexpensive, this is the only vegan sloppy Joe recipe you’ll ever need. Gena Hamshaw

Serves 6

  • 1 cup brown or green lentils, soaked for a few hours (or overnight) and rinsed
  • 2 to 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped (about 3/4 to 1 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder, dried
  • One 15-ounce can crushed, fire-roasted tomatoes (I like the Muir Glen brand)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon organic brown sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons sea salt (adjust according to taste; how much is needed will also depend on the tomatoes and tomato paste you use)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth (or more as needed)
  • 6 sprouted grain buns
  • Toppings of choice (Tabasco sauce, sriracha, pickles, onions, sauerkraut, coleslaw, avocado slices, etc.)
  1. Place lentils in a large pot, and cover with water (enough so that there’s at least a full inch or two of water above the lentils). Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the lentils are chewable, but still have some firmness to them. Drain them and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the onion is soft and clear, stirring frequently. Add the garlic, chili, paprika, and mustard, and continue cooking for another minute or two, until the garlic is quite fragrant.
  3. Add the lentils, fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar or maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Add more broth as needed. Simmer until the mixture has thickened to your liking, about 15 to 20 minutes (I like thick sloppy joes, but if you like ’em sloppier, that’s fine, too!).
  4. Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Divide sloppy joes onto the buns and top with toppings of choice, including some Tabasco or sriracha for heat, if desired. Serve.

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